The UN body overseeing the global cargo shipping industry on Friday agreed to new rules governing ocean cargo vessels that fall short of curbing the industry’s contributions to climate change-causing pollution.

The rules were met with a mixed reaction, hailed by some parties as a needed step forward but lacking adequate ambition and specificity.

The International Maritime Organization concluded two weeks of negotiations on Friday with a target of net-zero emissions by “around” 2050, about a decade later than experts say is required in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The nonbinding agreement asks the industry to cut emissions by 20% by 2030 and 70% by 2040, while “striving” for 30% and 80%, respectively, by those deadlines.

However, the Science Based Targets initiative estimates the industry should instead by targeting cuts of 45% by 2030 and net-zero in 2040.

“This week’s climate talks were reminiscent of rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship,” said Faïg Abbasov, shipping programme director for the Brussels-based Transport & Environment. “The IMO had the opportunity to set an unambiguous and clear course towards the 1.5ºC temperature goal, but all it came up with is a wishy-washy compromise.” 

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